The Seattle Mariners Are At It Again
Let's talk about baseball from a guy who does not watch baseball
I don’t like baseball. Or, at the least, I don’t like watching baseball at home.
Going to games is fun for things that aren’t watching baseball (beers and hot dogs, hello), and I do love the incredible abundance of statistics that really drive how the sport is played.
Baseball is the only sport where I would prefer to look at the numbers and the analytics than the game itself, and that’s probably why the Out of the Park Baseball game is such a blast for me.
The MLB specifically had been something I do not care about, and Cleveland having a racist baseball team name for so long made it easy to not care about, but then Jon Bois and Alex Rubenstein over at Secret Base did what they always do and rocked my damn world with a video.
This time, it was a set of six videos that were about the history of the Seattle Mariners and why they are so easy to root for. It is a masterpiece, and you absolutely need to watch them if you haven’t.
While this didn’t get me to watch more baseball, it did give me a quiet interest in rooting for the Mariners, who have not made the postseason in 20 years. Well, currently, Seattle has at least a reasonable shot to end that streak, and it is doing so in a very funny way.
Here are the AL Wild Card standings as of the morning of Sept. 30. Seattle is a half game behind the Boston Red Sox, who most recently lost to the lowly Baltimore Orioles. The Toronto Blue Jays are also right in it after taking down the Yankees last night, which dragged New York right into the heat of this battle.
Now, why is any of this funny? For starters, the Mariners seemed well out of this about two weeks ago, but have since won 10 of their last 11 games. Most recently, that included a three-game sweep of the Oakland Athletics, who started that series at 85-71, and would have been just 1.5 games out if it was them that pulled off the sweep.
Oakland lost those games 13-4, 4-2 and 4-2, but even worse than that is that the Athletics held leads in each and every one of those games. First, a 3-0 first inning, then a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth, then a 1-0 lead in the top of the sixth. In the last two games of the series, those advantages didn’t even make it to the next inning, as the Mariners seemed to wait for the A’s to open up the scoring just so they can crush their soul.
So now, Seattle has a series with the Los Angeles Angels to potentially sneak into the wild card, and my god would it be sneaking in. On the season, the Mariners rank No. 22 with 4.3 runs per game and No. 18 in 4.6 runs allowed per game. What does that run differential look like next to their wild card peers? Well.
Hmm. While the Yankees and Red Sox are pretty sizably into the green, it is the Blue Jays, who rank sixth in run differential in the majors, would likely be the most upset if they were to miss out on the postseason. Toronto trails the Mariners by half a game with one more to play, and that game comes against the Yankees. It doesn’t quite control its destiny, but Toronto is in a strong spot to make a push here.
How has Seattle done this? Again, comedically. The Mariners are exceptional in close games, boasting a 33-18 record in matchups decided by one run. That is the most wins and third best win percentage (64.7) in baseball. A lot of those wins come in extra innings, where again, Seattle is dominant, with a league-best 14 wins in 21 games.
My favorite stat about this team is how little it cares who the opponent is. The Mariners have a 44-34 record against teams with a record at or above .500, the second-best win percentage in the majors at 56.4 percent. For comparison sakes, that means Seattle has a 45-36 record against teams below .500.
I want to make this clear: the Seattle Mariners are not only good against good teams, they are better against good teams than bad ones. They have a 56.4 win percentage against good ones, and a 55.6 win percentage against bad ones. Unthinkably stupid team. I adore them.
All of this leads to the Pythagorean Win-Loss, which is basically what a team’s expected record is based on all the numbers in the database.
Seattle has a Pythagorean Win-Loss of 75-84, which would be ninth in the AL and way, way out from the wild card race. The Yankees have a Pythagorean W-L of 84-74, the Red Sox are at 86-72 and the Blue Jays are at 95-63.
The difference between that record and the actual record is what Baseball Reference refers to as luck. The Mariners’ luck number is 14. No other team in baseball has one higher than six. The Blue Jays’ luck number is -7, that is the worst of any team with a winning record.
Seattle shouldn’t be here right now according to the numbers, but it is and it’s awesome. The Mariners are not only cheating the system with small wins against good teams, but they are also being gifted the fortune of the Blue Jays being way better than their record suggests.
But who cares. I love looking at numbers, but they don’t actually decide the outcome of games and the Mariners prove that. This team is just pure vibes, and my goodness do I want them to sneak into the postseason. They can apparently beat anyone or lose to anyone at any time, which makes them the perfect team to win a World Series if you ask me.
New Top 25: Big Hogs Guy
It’s time for a new age of the Top 25 that doesn’t include that stinky poopy Clemson team. Gross. Get them out of here.
1.) Alabama (-)
2.) Georgia (-)
3.) Cincinnati (-)
4.) Oregon (-)
5.) Iowa (-)
6.) Arkansas (+10)
7.) Ole Miss (-)
8.) Penn State (-)
9.) Coastal Carolina (-)
10.) Notre Dame (+5)
11.) Florida (+3)
12.) Michigan (-1)
13.) Oklahoma (-3)
14.) Ohio State (-1)
15.) Texas A&M (-9)
16.) BYU (+1)
17.) Wake Forest (NEW)
18.) Fresno State (+3)
19.) UCLA (+5)
20.) Michigan State (+2)
21.) Oklahoma State (NEW)
22.) Baylor (NEW)
23.) San Diego State (+2)
24.) SMU (NEW)
25.) UTSA (NEW)
I almost exactly flipped Arkansas and Texas A&M, but man was I underestimating this Razorbacks team. If the Hogs take down Georgia, they go into the top three, no questions asked.
Notre Dame clobbered Wisconsin who is apparently not very good. That sets up a top 10 matchup against Cincinnati who will win that game, I promise.
Alabama-Ole Miss has an over-under of 80.0 points. I need this game to be an absolute banger and I think the Rebels might win? Am I insane?
Oklahoma sucks so it moves down once again. Ohio State beat up Akron as it should but has a loss so I kept it below the Sooners. The only one-loss team I have above them both is Florida, who lost a nail-biter to Alabama and has, generally, looked better than these two supposed powerhouses.
Wake Forest is the best team in the ACC. Hello.
And hello to surprised undefeated teams in the Big 12 with Baylor and Oklahoma State. I expected both to lose last weekend, and the surprise victories get them up into the top 25. Iowa State, I trusted you and you abandoned me.
These final few spots were incredibly difficult to pick from. I think Boston College, Maryland, NC State and Texas all had cases to be at 24 and 25. For now, I will choose undefeated teams first, so sorry to the Wolfpack and Longhorns who both look quite good. I went with SMU at 24 because I think earned it with an impressive win over TCU, while UTSA has also been great with big-time victories over Illinois and Memphis. Maryland gets Iowa this week, so this could change in a big way with an upset victory there.
If Charlotte beats Illinois this weekend, lord forgive me, I will be going back to the old me.
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